Illustration of an investigator
Image: Time Out

The 19 best true crime podcasts

There’s no shortage of grisly listens these days, but these are the best when it comes to true crime podcasts


Although there’s a hell of a lot of podcasts out there, there’s no denying that the true crime genre dominates all. The genre was basically introduced with ‘Serial’ back in 2014, and now tends to take on many forms; everything from investigative reporting to jokey chatter (we haven’t included the latter here – not our style). 

But the best thing about true crime podcasts is how much deeper you can dig into a story than with an hour-long documentary. And you can listen to it while cleaning the house. Win win. From gripping court cases to tales of deceit and deception, here are the best true crime podcasts to listen to right now. 

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Best true crime podcasts, ranked

1. Serial

The true crime pod of all true crime pods, you can’t talk about crime podcasts without acknowledging the granddaddy of the genre. Dating way back to 2014, series one of ‘Serial’ is the most famous and successful podcast of all time: Sarah Koenig’s hyper in-depth exploration of a 1999 Baltimore murder has been downloaded well over a hundred million times, and had a vast cultural impact. It laid down a template that many, many true crime podcasts have understandably followed. The best part? There’s a new season in 2024. Feast your ears, people.
Ella Doyle
Guides Editor

2. Death of an Artist

Thirty five years on from Cuban-American Ana Mendieta’s tragic (and suspicious) death, influential art critic Helen Molesworth examines the murder trial that divided the art world through the lens of #MeToo in this gripping and astute documentary series. ‘Death of an Artist’ attempts to answer that perennial question: can you ever really separate the art from the artist?
Rosie Hewitson
Newsletter and Events Editor, Time Out London

3. Sweet Bobby

These days, you probably know what catfishing is. Y’know, it’s when someone pretends to be somebody else online in order to try and fool someone else. But that doesn’t mean ‘Sweet Bobby’ is any less astonishing or ridiculous. It tells the story of how host Kirat Assi was taken in via flabbergasting levels of deception that led her to believe she was in a relationship with a cardiologist. With its vast cast of supporting characters, all backing up the lie, it’s one that’ll leave you questioning everything – and everyone.
Andrzej Lukowski
Theatre & Dance Editor, UK

4. West Cork

When you think of a true crime podcast, ‘West Cork’ is exactly what you’re thinking of. It tells the tragic, horrifying story of the murder trial of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, but it tells it with genuine sensitivity and care, skipping the gory details to tell the story of Sophie, the victim at the heart of the story. It’s a little more slow-moving than some of the other true crime podcasts you’ll find out there, but still ending with the big question: did he do it?
Ella Doyle
Guides Editor

5. Chameleon: Wild Boys

In 2003, two half-starved boys emerge from the Canadian wilderness, claiming to have been raised in the woods. They say they’ve never been to school, seen a dentist, watched TV or had any previous contact with the modern world. A local hockey mom, Tammy, takes the brothers under her wing. But suspicions are soon raised by their surprisingly advanced vocabulary and the names they provide for their parents: Mary and Joseph. The true story of the ‘bush boys’ unfolds, traversing the complex worlds of conspiracy theorists, eating disorders and our ability to suspend our disbelief when it comes to ‘wild’ meets Western world narratives.
Jessica Phillips
Social Media Editor

6. A Very British Cult

Not true crime like gory murders and whodunnits, but still a fascinating podcast about a true story. BBC podcast ‘A Very British Cult’ takes a deep dive into Lighthouse, an organisation offering mentorship and life advice, through the lens of one man who was sucked into its vortex. Lighthouse is a cult, the podcast demonstrates, and it impeccably shows what happens when a family member becomes indoctrinated. He and his girlfriend are interviewed – she was forced to watch his indoctrination from the sidelines. Thankfully the story has a happy ending.
Ella Doyle
Guides Editor

7. In the Dark

This podcast puts the US justice system in the dock. The first season asks why it took authorities 27 years to solve the abduction of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling. Season two examines why a Black man, Curtis Flowers, was tried six times for the same crime, while a 'special report' follow up deals with the effects of Covid on the vulnerable Mississippi Delta. It's just been taken on by the New Yorker, and journalists are working on series three. Its hallmarks are rigorous investigative journalism and epic suspense. Not only is it addictive, it’ll fire you up.
Alex Sims
Contributing Writer and Editor

8. The Trial of Lucy Letby

When it comes to true crime, we’re used to looking back on historical cases, which only makes this 64-episode podcast series more unsettling. This podcast from the Daily Mail follows the trial of Lucy Letby, who was convicted for murdering seven babies in Chester. If nothing else, it’s a really fascinating look into how these sorts of trials play out, with actors reading out quotes from the court room. 


9. S-Town

Some extremely legitimate criticisms have been made of ‘This American Life’ spin-off ‘S-Town’, which is – to be frank – not really a true crime podcast, or certainly not in the most literal sense. But you absolutely wouldn’t know that from the first three episodes, which see host Brian Read doing the standard re-examining a death in a small American town thing, as he’s invited down to Woodstock, Alabama by local eccentric John B, who is convinced he has stumbled across a murder mystery. What happens afterwards is really not what you’re expecting, and there’s an argument that Read should have abandoned the whole thing. But what he found is truly remarkable – if disturbing – stuff.

Inevitably many of these podcasts are very polished and very American. But Brit cast ‘RedHanded’ is a delight precisely because it flies in the face of all this. Hosts Hannah Maguire and Surithi Bala met at a party, drunkenly bonded over their love of true crime, started a podcast… and this is pretty much it. Their well-researched hourlong dissections of various crimes of the week are great, but it’s the fact the series actually traces the duo bonding and becoming friends that gives ‘RedHanded’ its frisson.

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